Find Your Path, Find Your Purpose

By Kristy McCaffrey

“The job of the wayfinder, whether an ancient oracle or a modern scientific theorist, is to reach beyond current human knowledge into the realm of the unimagined and bring back something true and useful.” ~ Martha Beck


Do you have a strong sense of having a specific mission or purpose in life? Do you have a compulsion to master certain skills, to become proficient in a certain profession? Do you have a high sense of empathy? Do you feel a strong desire to lessen the suffering for people or animals? Do you feel as if you don’t quite fit into normal society?


Martha Beck addresses these questions in her rich and layered book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want. Hers isn’t the first treatise on the subject of life purpose, but her approach is more in line with ancient shamanic teachings rather than modern-day psychology. In an engaging manner she outlines the basic tenets of the Team. The Team, you see, is here to change the world, and many of us are on this Team whether we realize it or not. She points out that in today’s world, knowledge is common place; the real need is human attention. And not just any attention, but a focus based on authenticity, inventiveness, humor, empathy, and meaning. 


Team members are wayfinders, and wayfinders have been around for millennia, utilizing ancient technologies. Beck calls these the Technologies of Magic: Wordlessness, Oneness, Imagination, and Forming.


Wordlessness shifts the mind from the verbal center to the more creative and intuitive side of the brain. Oneness allows you to feel the connections we all have to one another and the world around us. With wordlessness and oneness activated, using Imaginationwill help you achieve a level of problem solving that won’t feel like work. And finally, Forming will bring what you’ve imagined into the physical world. The first two are states of consciousness, not something society places a high value upon, but without them not much of consequence will be accomplished. People are more acquainted with the last two skills; they are more active states, more doing states. However, it’s important not to skip the first two because without them what you form in this world will have no real significance or impact on those around you.


To achieve Wordlessness, any activity that dissolves verbal attention will do, such as singing, painting, poetry, literature, dancing, or any type of repetitive exercise like running, swimming or cycling. One well known path to Wordlessness is yoga.


If Wordlessness is becoming present in the magical realm then Oneness is connecting and communicating through it. In Oneness there is no separation between yourself and anything else in the universe. Ancient teachers say that we communicate with everything and everything is communicating with us. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, “I am the light that is over all things…Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”


One way to master Oneness is through deep practice, an intense way of learning a new skill that requires persistence. It’s not a matter of repetition but rather fully embracing the new skill, integrating it into your neural pathways, and then branching out in new and innovative ways.


Beck states, “To master Wordlessness, heal your true nature, and become a wayfinder, you must unlearn almost everything you were taught in school about what it means to be intelligent.” 


Wordlessness and Oneness can seem challenging for a person of western culture to master. “One South American shaman who was trained by a tribe deep in the forest…has to work to step out of Oneness so that he can understand the fear and neuroses of his First World patients.”


Using an analogy of a computer, mastering all four facets of the Technologies of Magic can be thought of in this way: log on to the energetic Internet using Wordlessness, communicate by sending energetic messages via Oneness, write code to create things online using Imagination, and finally, print out the creation—Forming—bringing it into the physical realm.


The time is now. The world needs what you have to offer. Don’t wait. Perhaps you want to rescue animals, perhaps you want to bring safe drinking water to a third world country, or maybe you simply feel called to help an elderly neighbor down the street get groceries. We all play a part, big and small. Nature can heal itself and Team members are willing to leave their gilded cage and embrace the change needed in today’s world.


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